The owner of a rescue cat that was shot with an air rifle and badly injured in Finchley Central says he has been left "heartbroken".

Richard Folkes found his black domestic shorthair, named Lady Guinevere, limping and holding up her right back leg when she returned to her home in Clifton Avenue at 10.30am on Monday.

A vet found a lump in her swollen lower leg which turned out to be an air pellet lodged in the tissue.

The pellet had completely shattered one of her metatarsal bones and the animal was in a lot of pain.

Owner Mr Folkes said: “We got her as a rescue cat from the RSPCA and it took a lot of time for her to build up her confidence in us and to venture out so it is heart breaking that this has happened.

“However, she is a young cat and the vet did say there was a chance that the bone would grow back.”

The RSPCA is now appealing for information to find the culprits.

RSPCA Inspector Nicole Broster said: “Airgun injuries cause a lot of trauma and pain to animals and in, many cases, kill them. It is completely unacceptable for anyone to use an air gun in this way.”

Anyone with information can speak in confidence to the RSPCA information line on 0300 123 8018.